2008 New Mexico Lobos Football Preview
New Mexico's 2007 Record: (9-4, 5-3 MWC)
2007 Bowl: New Mexico Bowl vs. Nevada (W 23-0)
New Mexico Head Coach: Rocky Long (61-61 at New Mexico, 61-61 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Baldwin
Defensive Coordinator: Troy Reffett
Returning Leaders for New Mexico:
- Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, RB, 1,177 yards
- Passing: Donovan Porterie, QB, 3,006 yards
- Receiving: Rodney Ferguson, RB, 264 yards
- Tackles: Ian Clark, S, 79
- Sacks: Zach Arnett, LB, 2.0
- Interceptions: DeAndre Wright, CB, 3
Other Key Returnees: DT Wesley Beck, WR Roland Bruno, S Ian Clark, OT Erik Cook, S Blake Ligon, TE Chris Mark, S Clint McPeek, CB Glover Quin
Key Losses: WR Travis Brown, LB George Carter, OT Devin Clark, DE Tyler Donaldson, LB Cody Kase, G Anthony Kilby, G Bart Miller, LB Major Mosley, C Vince Natali, WR Marcus Smith, S O.J. Swift, DE Michael Tuohy
New Mexico finally won their bowl game last year and now it is time to build off that success and start aiming for a conference title. However, Coach Rocky Long will have some trouble getting that far right away with some big losses on defense and an offense that needs to find a couple new playmakers.
New Mexico's Strengths:
The defense was solid last year, ranking 13 th in the nation in total yards. But graduations have hit pretty hard and the Lobos will have to depend on the veterans in the secondary to keep the defense strong. Corner DeAndre Wright might be the most talented player on the team and fellow corner Glover Quin is extremely experienced. Having Ian Clark, Blake Ligon and Clint McPeek back at the safety spots will not only make this one of the best groups of defensive backs in the conference, but they could garner some national attention. The offense had plenty of talent last season, but still struggled at times. With another year of experience for quarterback Donovan Porterie and running back Rodney Ferguson, who rushed for 1,177 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, the offense at least has something to build around.
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New Mexico's Weaknesses:
But they are going to have to do it with four new offensive linemen and without receivers Marcus Smith and Travis Brown. Smith and Brown both had over 1,000 yards receiving during their senior campaigns and the next receiver on the list only had 186 yards. Roland Bruno has potential and Jermaine McQueen and Chris Hernandez can step up and fill some of the void, but Porterie will quickly miss Smith and Brown. On the defensive side of the ball, all three starting linebackers are gone and ends Tyler Donaldson and Michael Tuohy must be replaced. The Lobos did not do a great job of creating pressure on the quarterback anyway, but it could be worse this year.
The Bottom Line for the Lobos:
The offense has potential with Ferguson and the underappreciated Porterie, but it was the defense that really made last year a special season in Albuquerque. Ends Kevin Balogun and Philip Harrison and linebackers Herbert Felder and Zach Arnett have some experience, but they need to prove that they can handle full time starting jobs and keep the defense one of the best in the Mountain West.
2007 New Mexico Lobos Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 135.92 (78th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 236.15 (52, 3)
Total Offense: 372.08 (76, 6)
Scoring Offense: 24.69 (79, 7)
Rushing Defense: 122.54 (26, 3)
Pass Defense: 197.38 (20, 2)
Total Defense: 319.92 (13, 2)
Scoring Defense: 19.00 (14, 4)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 5)
Sacks: 1.77 (80, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (51, 4)
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Guest Writer
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